poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Visiting poet: Jackie Hosking

Jackie HoskingToday we welcome Jackie Hosking who is visiting as part of the Soup Blog Poetry Festival. We’re big fans of Jackie’s poetry and you might remember reading some of her poems in Alphabet Soup magazine — like ‘Paperwork’, ‘The Moon’, ‘Butterfly Kisses’, and ‘I Wish I Were a Dragon’.

I wrote my first poem when I was 17 years old. It was called ‘Consequence’, a rhyming nonsense poem that made the use of opposites. It began …

A Christmas tree stood on the beach

Within my grasp but out of reach

What sort of poetry do you like writing?

Best of all I like writing rhyming and rhythmical poetry. I’ve tried to write free verse poems and I’ve enjoyed the process but rhyme and meter suit me best of all.

What sort of poetry do you like reading?

I like to ready any poems that make me go aaaahhhhh …

Where could a reader find your poetry?

My poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies, websites, on a train, educational texts and next year in a picture book titled The Croc and the Platypus.

You can read some more of my poems on my blog.

How often do you write?

Not as often as I should probably — but when I do I’m so absorbed that many hours can pass without me realising it. It’s really exciting when this happens.

Do you prefer to write with a pen and paper or straight onto the computer?

Straight onto the computer, though I will record ideas if I’m out on a walk with no computer in site. Love my phone for this!

Your number one tip for budding poets?

Write about what moves YOU. There is nothing more compelling than reading a piece that was written with passion.

Jackie’s Poetry Prescription:

IF YOU’RE HAVING A GRUMPY DAY — read the following poem! (I wrote ‘The Quarrel’ as it’s perfect for stamping your grumpies out.)


The giants are moaning

And mumbling and groaning

They’re grumbling with all of their might

They’re stamping and stomping

And ranting and romping

They’re all in the mood for a fight

The giants are raving

And whining and waving

They’re snatching the clouds; every one

They’re howling and wailing

And flapping and flailing

And heaving the clouds at the sun

The giants are lurching

And stumbling and searching

For weapons to settle the score

They’re ploughing and plunging

And digging and lunging

For dinosaur bones from before

They’re kicking and thrashing

And slicing and slashing

Electrical tension is frightening

They’re whacking and whizzing

And static is fizzing

Exploding the sky with its lightening

The giants are jumping

While jeering and thumping

The dinosaur bones as they plunder

And the flash in the night

Well might give you a fright

But just wait for the crack of the thunder

© Jackie Hosking

Thank you, Jackie! If you’d like to learn more about Jackie Hosking and her poetry, check out her website and this earlier post on Soup Blog.

poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Soup Blog Poetry Festival

festival streamers and party blowersHave you already been enjoying your winter school holidays? Here in WA we are JUST STARTING our school holidays this afternoon. It’s great holiday weather in Perth. As I look out my window I can see blue, blue skies.

In addition to being in a holidayish mood, I am very excited to announce that we are holding a poetry festival right here on Soup Blog. For the rest of July and all of August we will be celebrating poetry and poets. Bring all your friends! Bring your teachers! Bring your grandparents! Bring your dog!

What will be happening during our poetry festival?

I’m so glad you asked. We’ll have tips for reading poetry, we’ll be sharing some poems we love (oldies but goodies), talking to a number of Australian children’s poets about their writing, and every Tuesday we’ll offer you a tiny poem challenge. We’ll also feature Poetry Prescriptions from our visiting children’s poets — poetry is good for the soul!

When does this festival start?

On Monday 8 July 2013! Be sure to check back then. We’ll be launching the Soup Blog Poetry Festival with the very first poem we published in Alphabet Soup magazine. (I wonder if any of you can remember what it was?) On Tuesday we’ll have our first tiny poem challenge for you. And on Thursday we’ll have a first of our Australian poets visiting — Jackie Hosking.

See you then!

~ Rebecca (Soup Blog’s editor)

info, National Year of Reading

Summer 2012 issue – coming to your letter box this week!

Here’s the cover of issue 17, featuring the artwork of 11-year-old Clarissa, winner of our 2012 Design-a-cover comp. Packing it into envelopes has really put us in a holiday mood!

issue 17 (cover)

What will you find inside this issue?

Look out for your copy in the mail this week. (Or subscribe now – Alphabet Soup is the perfect Christmas gift for young writers and keen readers!)

info, National Year of Reading

Autumn Issue – out now!

You can crumple it, fold it, cut it, write on it, post it, paint on it, roll it into a scroll, make collage with it … and so much more. What are we talking about? Paper! Our autumn issue was posted to our loyal subscribers yesterday—and it’s all about paper.

Alphabet Soup issue 14 coverHere’s what you’ll find inside issue 14:

… and more!

Subscribe via our website (you can order single copies from the subscribe page, too). If  you’re in WA, rush in to one of our WA stockists—Westbooks (Victoria Park) and Zero to Ten (South Fremantle) who will have copies of the autumn issue to sell you from Tuesday 21 February 2012.

Happy National Year of Reading!


Three Quick Questions: Jackie Hosking #16

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is poet Jackie Hosking. You might have seen some of her poems in The School Magazine, The Scrumbler and in Alphabet Soup! You’ll also find her writing in the anthology Short and Scary.

Alphabet Soup issue 5 cover"Short and scary (cover)"


1. Where do you like to write?

I love to write in bed with a nice cup of tea.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

Anything by Lorraine Marwood. A Ute Picnic is brilliant and I’m about to read Note on the Door. Her poetry is so accessible and beautiful to read.

A Ute Picnic
Jackie recommends A Ute Picnic by Lorraine Marwood
note on the door (cover)
Jackie also recommends Note on the Door by Lorraine Marwood


3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

One of my favourite unblockers is the phrase ‘Once upon a time … ‘ It seems to unlock the door to possibilities. So if you’re stuck, just write Once upon a time … and see what happens.

You can find out more about Jackie Hosking in an earlier interview (or keep an eye out for our November issue which will include one of Jackie’s poems).

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Jackie Hosking” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … don’t forget to enter our birthday giveaways—entries close at midnight tonight, Perth time )

competitions, info, poetry, teachers' resources

Winter 2011 Alphabet Soup — out now!

Issue 11 cover, Alphabet Soup magazineThe eleventh issue of Alphabet Soup magazine (yay! yay!) was posted yesterday. If you are a subscriber, keep an eye on your letterbox.

Here’s what you’ll find inside the winter issue:

  • Q&A with author, Wendy Orr
  • Meet a beekeeper
  • Writing tips for kids from The Book Chook
  • Stories by Michele Purcell and Emma Cameron
  • Poetry by Edel Wignell, Jackie Hosking and Lorraine Marwood
  • Stories, poems and book reviews by kids
  • Crossword
  • Our winter writing competition
  • Our annual design-a-cover competition

and more!

Later today we’ll be posting the Q&A with Wendy Orr and on Monday we’ll be posting the winning stories from our recent story-writing competition. So stay tuned!

Subscribe to Alphabet Soup magazine

poetry, teachers' resources

“Lights out!” (Jackie Hosking)

"Short and scary (cover)"Today we welcome Jackie Hosking, here to tell us about her experiences of reading undercover.  She loves to write rhyming poetry. We’ve published several of her poems in Alphabet Soup magazine, and she’s had poems published elsewhere, including The School Magazine, and in an anthology, Short and Scary.

"Jackie Hosking (photo)"
Jackie Hosking

As a child I loved to read. I read all of Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven books ( http://www.enidblyton.net/secret-seven/ ), I loved their meetings in the clubhouse where their mother brought them homemade biscuits and lemonade. Later I enjoyed The Nancy Drew Mysteries and always looked forward to receiving a new copy at the end of the Sunday School Year.

At the time I was reading these books I lived in Cornwall, which is in the United Kingdom. I was about ten years old. Just after my tenth birthday my family and I came to live in Australia where I discovered the amazing stories of Roald Dahl. I particularly remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and James and the Giant Peach. At primary school I was a frequent visitor to the school library where I borrowed and read the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren and it was at about this time I discovered that I really enjoyed reading science fiction books.

I was encouraged to read at home and had always been read to as a child. I read in bed, on the couch, in my tent, on the grass, in the car, on the bus … but never, never, never at the dinner table. This was a time to chat and catch up with the goings on in the family. And we certainly weren’t allowed to watch television at meal times. In fact television was a bit of a luxury in our house as was being allowed to stay up late. Most nights I was in bed by 8pm and so had plenty of time to curl up with my favourite book. I don’t ever remember being told to stop reading or to turn my lights out but after reading for a couple of hours I can imagine that my eyelids would have made that decision for me. I was what you might call a pretty sensible child, boring others might say. I did as I was told, most of the time, including brushing my teeth, saying please and thank you and eating my vegetables, even the brussels sprouts!

Books were my escape where I could be brave, daring and brilliant. Where there were no bedtimes or manners, just adventure and excitement (without of course, any real danger). Nothing thrilled me more than to open the pages of a new book, eager to discover where I might end up and who I might meet. Books allow you to reinvent yourself; they give you permission to shine.

As an adult I still love to read. And you’ll find me in bed on a Sunday morning with my latest book texting my husband for a nice cup of tea!

© 2010 Jackie Hosking

Visit Jackie Hosking’s site for more information about her and her poetry.

"Undercover readers logo"Alphabet Soup magazine is celebrating the launch of Undercover Readers (our new reviewers club for kids)!  If you’d like to join the Undercover Readers Club, you’ll find an information pack you can download from the Alphabet Soup website. As part of the celebrations, we have a different children’s author or illustrator visiting Soup Blog each day until 29 June 2010 to talk about what they used to read after ‘lights out’ when they were growing up. So be sure to check back tomorrow!

poetry, teachers' resources

Michael Rosen (via PASS IT ON)

Michael Rosen’s poetry is fantastic. Check out this interview on Jackie Hosking’s blog:

Michael Rosen This week please welcome Michel Rosen to the blog. Thanks Michael for taking the time to answer my questions. What poets did you enjoy reading as a child? Before I was about 12 or 13, I’m not sure that I did really like the poetry I heard or read. But around 12 I heard Louis Macneice’s poem about the unborn child, Browning’s Last Duchess and then not long after some DH Lawrence poems like Snake, Bat, etc…I think what I was responding to was the … Read More


info, poetry, teachers' resources

Meet children’s poet, Jackie Hosking

Jackie Hosking photo
Poet, Jackie Hosking

Today is ‘Poem in Your Pocket Day’! And we’re thrilled to have a wonderful poet visiting the blog today: Jackie Hosking. You can find one of her poems in the current issue of Alphabet Soup magazine (issue 6).

Welcome, Jackie! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a Nigerian born, Cornish, Australian. How can that be? Well, my parents are Cornish, they were living in Nigeria when I was born, they moved to Victoria, Australia when I was ten where I became an Australian Citizen. I left my parents’ home with my kitten, Gizzy when I was 18 years old. Gizzy lived to be 21 years old and I wrote a poem, ‘My Cat,’ in her memory. Now I live in a beautiful seaside town with my puppy Rex. Rex is a Blue Staffy and he wrecks (Rex) everything. I love walking by the sea and in the bush and discover many of my poems this way. I also love to read.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry for about 25 years. I wrote my very first poem when I was 17. I have been writing for children for about 5 years.

You seem to love rhyming poetry in particular. Can you tell us why?

I grew up reading poems by A.A. Milne. He wrote the ‘Winnie The Pooh’ books, and I always enjoyed discovering when a poem rhymed. I thought it was really clever and so doubly satisfying. Even though I love rhyme, I like the rhyme to be incidental, a bonus, not the whole focus but the icing on the cake.

Do you prefer writing poems to writing stories?

I much prefer to write a poem. I think it might be because I have a short attention span. I love how a poem can condense thoughts, feelings and descriptions into a powerful piece of writing. Poems are bite sized stories to be consumed greedily.

Why do you like writing poems for children?

I think because I never really grew up. Also I think when I write a poem, I try to write with a fresh eye, a child’s eye. Instead of having a bird’s eye view, I write with a child’s eye view. I have also written poems for adults, a few serious ones but mostly funny ones for parents with small children.

Did you like poetry as a child?

I didn’t really enjoy reading adult poetry as a child but I always enjoyed the children’s poets. I’ve mentioned A.A. Milne and there’s also C.J. Dennis, Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl.

Who are some children’s poets you admire today?

Of course, all of those mentioned above, as well as – Lorraine Marwood, Meredith Costain, Claire Saxby, Sally Murphy, Janeen Brian, Stephen Whiteside, Sherryl Clark and Edel Wignell, just to name a few.

Do you have a favourite style of poem when you are writing?

I like to think about my poetry as an artist might think of a painting. Poetry, to me, is painting with words. I’ve written all types of poetry, funny, sad, pretty, long, short, limericks but what is most important, for me, is the rhythm or the meter. It has to be perfect and I enjoy the challenge of getting it that way.

Have you ever done anything unusual with one of your poems? (e.g. purposely left one on a train … )

Funny that you should mention a train. Two of my poems are travelling around Melbourne on the trains as part of the ‘Moving Galleries’ project. It’s such fun when someone contacts me to let me know that they’ve seen one. I also entered a very personal (and a little bit rude!) valentine’s poem into a competition where it ended up being included in the anthology.

Do you have any advice for kids who want to write poetry?

Think of poetry like making gravy – it needs to be reduced. It needs to be the essence of what you want to say. Less is always more where poetry is concerned. Use strong, sparkly words, become friends with metaphor and simile and don’t be afraid to be unique. Never use clichés – never say that something was ‘as cold as ice’. Find a new way like … the water was as cold as money.

Where can kids find your poems?

Many of my poems have been published in The School Magazine.

Alphabet Soup has published ‘The Moon’ and ‘A Raindrop Race’.

The Poem a Week Project – ‘To Catch a Dewdrop’.

I also have a blog! http://www.versatilityrhymeandrhythm.blogspot.com

How do you get ideas/inspiration?

Ideas can come from anywhere. Walking stirs up lots of ideas, as do my pets. Nature is a favourite, the flowers, the birds, the beach. I love to capture all of these things and display them on the page.

Today is ‘Poem in Your Pocket Day’. Would you share one of your poems with us today?

Here’s one I prepared earlier …

Short and Scary cover‘I had a little poem’

I had a little poem
I held it in my hand
It whispered muffled secrets
Only I could understand

I had a little poem
I kept it in a locket
And every time I went outside
I popped it in my pocket

© Jackie Hosking

You can find out more about Jackie Hosking at her website: www.jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com. Her most recent publication – ‘At the end of the Street’ is included in the anthology, Short & Scary.